Analog and Digital (#socs, #JusJoJan)

Well, it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the prompt, so bear with me.

You hear a lot about your “digital life” these days, where all your entertainment, your job, and your communications can be broken down into a string of binary characters, i.e. 1’s and 0’s. When you came to this page, or received this email, or however you read this blog, it was delivered by a string of 1’s and 0’s. If you see a picture of a cat wearing a Santa Claus hat on Facebook, you’re looking at a string of 1’s and 0’s that, taken together, form the picture of a cat wearing a Santa Claus hat. Ditto what happens when you see a video of the cat in the Santa Claus hat try to get it off. Nothing but strings of 1’s and 0’s. When you think about it, it’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Think about this: when my nephew Mathew was born, I got an email from my brother with pictures of his new son, taken within moments of the kid being born. Really, Matt was born at 2:00 in the afternoon, and by 2:10 I was looking at him. Back in the old days, you would take a picture of the baby, take it to Fotomat (remember those?) to be developed and to have sufficient copies made for everyone in the family, get stamps and envelopes, put each picture in an envelope, address it and stamp it, and drop it in the mailbox. The Post Office would work its magic, and a week or so later the letter carrier would drop it in the mailbox in front of my house. Ten minutes (digital) versus ten days (analog). Wow. That’s almost 1500 times faster.

Then there’s this, that I found on Facebook:



Five megabytes! Now, I carry one of these around in my pocket: 128 gigabytes. 25,000 times more storage…



We’ve figured out how to put more digits in less space. And we need to be able to store more digits in less space.

So digital makes our lives faster, but it begs the question, does it make them better? In some ways, it does, in other ways, not so much. We still live in an analog world, when you come right down to it; our lives can’t easily be broken down into strings of 1’s and 0’s. Despite all the technological advances, we still live in a world of things to see, and touch, and smell, and taste, and hear. We can’t duplicate any of those as accurately using 1’s and 0’s, and some we can’t duplicate at all.

So, don’t forget the analog.



The prompt for this Stream of Consciousness Saturday, as well as for Just Jot It January, was “an-,” as chosen by the hostess for both blog hops, Linda Hill.


19 thoughts on “Analog and Digital (#socs, #JusJoJan)

  1. Sometimes I think, Thank God that no one has invented anything to process and send smell and touch through 1s and 0s. There used to be a time when I used to write, now my own signature in a cheque doesn’t match half the time, during those rare visits to the bank.


    1. That’s like all of us, I think. The hand I used to write was affected by the stroke and I never learned to write left-handed, so I never use a pen anymore.

      Incidentally, there are now robots that can process odors and tell whether something is going to explode. The technology is expensive, so only government departments have it, but I don’t think we’re that far from having that technology available for consumers. Knowing the smartphone manufacturers, they’re probably hard at work to build that into their devices…

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  2. Of course, our brains are only organic computers and all the sensory signals reach our consciousness via binary neural pathways, therefore any experiences we have, whether “digital” or “analog” initially, all end up as digital translations of the original source material once they’re in our heads.


    1. Very true. Makes it all the more fascinating to know that the brain can hold everything the way it does, including all the sensory data. That’s the part that differentiates us from computers, at least for now.

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  3. It is jarring to me at times the speed and volume of messages/information we are exposed to these days. I know my nervous system is not really designed for it. It can keep you from thinking very deeply about anything because you are not allowed the time to process and reflect. There are good things like being able to be connected with friends and family who are not living nearby. But I need to take breaks from it and I don’t take enough breaks from it.


    1. I think that’s becoming more of a problem. Right now I’m in a Starbucks watching people standing around looking at their cellphones. I know I have to be careful with it. Especially since the stroke I tend to live in the digital world, and that’s not good.

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          1. It might be a good idea to use to a science fiction story about some bizarre outcome of this technology on our society. Well I guess it is like when people talk on a land line when they have company or watch television. 🙂


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